LONDON—British scientist Robert Edwards, who was awarded a Nobel prize for his pioneering work in developing in vitro fertilization (IVF), died on Wednesday aged 87, his university announced.
“It is with deep sadness that the family announces that Professor Sir Robert Edwards, Nobel prizewinner, scientist and co-pioneer of IVF, passed away peacefully in his sleep on April 10, 2013 after a long illness,” the University of Cambridge said in a statement.
“He will be greatly missed by family, friends and colleagues.”
Edwards spent his career making the dream of having a baby come true for millions of people worldwide, running into conflict with the Catholic Church and fellow scientists on his way.
He was awarded the Nobel prize for medicine in 2010, five decades after he began experimenting and long after the birth of the world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978.
“Bob Edwards is one of our greatest scientists,” said Mike Macnamee, chief executive of Bourn Hall, the IVF clinic that Edwards founded with his fellow IVF pioneer Patrick Steptoe, a gynaecological surgeon.
“His inspirational work in the early 1960s led to a breakthrough that has enhanced the lives of millions of people worldwide. He is held in great affection by everyone who has worked with him and was treated by him.”
He added: “It was a privilege to work with him and his passing is a great loss to us all.”